Loud Awake and Lost, by Adele Griffin

While I had plenty of complaints about Adele Griffin's previous two books, I felt unaccountably hopeful about her latest effort, Loud Awake and Lost. It look me a while to figure out where my sunny optimism was coming from, but I finally placed it: the cover art is reminiscent of Rosemary Clement-Moore's Texas Gothic, and any similarity to Ms. Clement-Moore's work—even one as tenuous as cover art—is sure to attract me.

Happily, this is one of the rare instances in which judging a book by its cover worked out in my favor, as Loud Awake and Lost is Griffin's best book yet. It's the story of seventeen-year-old Ember, who is about to return home after a car accident that lead to eight months in the hospital. Ember's physical recovery is nearly complete, although she still can't remember the six weeks leading up to the accident, and she's coming home to the overprotective parents, worried friends, and a hovering ex-boyfriend. As she struggles to navigate her new life, Ember finds herself torn between the smothering—but loving—concern of her friends and family and the inexplicable connection she feels to an art student named Kai, who seems to understand everything about her.

Loud Awake and Lost is still far from perfect. There's a “twist” that gets telegraphed early and often, and the alternate love interest is too idealized to be plausible. But the fundamental arc of Ember's journey back to herself rings true, even if a couple of the book's subplots falter. I'm attributing a lot of the story's effectiveness to its connection to Ms. Griffin's personal experience—according to her Acknowledgments page, her brother survived a neurological trauma, and helped her with the details of Ember's recovery—but here's hoping her newfound talent for emotionally effective storytelling is permanent, and not dependent upon the life experiences of her relatives.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


No comments yet. Be the first!

No new comments are allowed on this post.